Kauai resort reborn as 'rustic-chic' ISO

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A guestroom at the ISO, an acronym for Island. Sky. Ocean. The hotel was originally built in 1967.
A guestroom at the ISO, an acronym for Island. Sky. Ocean. The hotel was originally built in 1967.

The Mokihana Resort on Kauai has emerged from a $5 million renovation as The ISO, an acronym for Island. Sky. Ocean. The refreshed hotel has soft opened, and all of the construction was due to be complete by April 2.

Managed by Castle Resorts and Hotels, the 79-room boutique hotel sits on the Garden Isle's eastern shore in the town of Kapaa and all of the rooms boast ocean views. The renovation, which began in August 2017, revamped the lobby, guestrooms and grounds.

"The theme is rustic-chic, and we are targeting active travelers," general manager Ala Perreira said.

The refreshed guest rooms feature refrigerators, coffee makers, flat screen TVs, wireless internet, yoga mats, and Bluetooth and USB capable clock radios. Additionally, with an eye toward minimizing waste, each guest receives a canteen coffee mug and refillable water bottles.

The hotel was originally built in 1967, and the popular Bull Shed Restaurant was added in 1973. Castle took over the hotel in 2012.

"The property sits right on the ocean and you just can't build properties like that anymore," said Robin Graf, vice president of operations for Castle Resorts and Hotels.

The ISO features an oceanfront swimming pool, grass courtyard with lounge chairs, fire pit and outdoor fitness area where yoga and Tai Chi classes will be offered. A complimentary continental breakfast, with fresh fruit, granola, cereals, oatmeal, coffee, tea, juices, grab-and-go items and other goods is included in the room rate.

"We've made a conscious effort on our part to appeal to the active traveler," Graf said. "That includes a lot of people, such as millennials, but also a lot of baby boomers that are very active and don't like cookie cutter stuff."

The Bull Shed, known for its prime rib, rack of lamb and fresh seafood among other dishes, got a new outdoor dining lanai as part of the renovations.

"It sits right on the ocean, you can't get any closer," Perreira said. "Come of the guests get splashed with water sometimes when they tides are in. It's a great atmosphere and the majority of the staff have been there over 20 years."

Bikes are available for guests to borrow, and the management is focused on making sure visitors get the most out of the Garden Isle's outdoor offerings, including beaches and a nearby four-mile coastal trail on the Royal Coconut Coast.

"One thing about the property that's special is that it's on the east side of Kauai and the sunrise is spectacular," Graf said. "Sunset is great too when you have your Mai Tai or what have you, but enjoying the sunrise from your lanai with your canteen coffee mug full of Hawaiian coffee, and maybe doing some yoga, is just wonderful."

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